BRAC has final say over Niagara base

Posted 13 June 2016 at 12:00 am

Editor:

In the world of business, decisions are made and corporate direction taken. However, to ensure proper accountability for those decisions and directions, one person has the “D”. The “D” means the Decision. The “D” means the responsibility and accountability for that decision.

In the past few weeks, APEX Clean Energy, in an all-out attempt to allay fears over Industrial Wind Turbine encroachment on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (and risk to jobs at that base), brought Mr. Dave Belote to Western New York for private meetings with a number of interested parties. Those interested parties included many political and public groups (Town/County Government and Save Ontario Shores, to name a few).

Reports from these meetings show that Mr. Belote indicated that, in his experience as a US Air Force Officer, Federal employee and through his government acquaintances, the Lighthouse Wind project would be unlikely to pose a risk to NFARS. To support his argument, Mr. Belote produced two “informal review” letters from the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse.

While Mr. Belote’s military service to our country is commendable, his current service to Cassidy and Associates (a pro-wind consulting firm) and, previous service as a Vice President of Federal Business for APEX Clean Energy, are of particular interest.

It is important to realize that, regardless of his armed forces service, Mr. Belote is a pro-wind consultant whose job is to minimize the specter of risk at NFARS. Regardless of reality.

The reality is as follows: The verdict on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is fully in the hands of Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission. The decision on whether to close NFARS will be made by and only by BRAC. BRAC has the “D”. Any reason, such as encroachment on military operations caused by industrial wind turbines, will remain a significant factor in potential closure of NFARS.

As such, regardless of the efforts of APEX Clean Energy or Mr. Belote to allay NFARS and Western New York fears, only the BRAC decision determines the future of NFARS and over 3,000 jobs in Western New York.

Neither Mr. Belote nor the DoD Siting Clearinghouse have any input on the encroachment question and therefore the future of NFARS. They do not have the “D”.
BRAC and only BRAC has the “D”.

John B. Riggi
Councilman, Town of Yates